The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


Circulation and the City design by David Drummond

New from David Drummond

The Original Spirit — Toronto indie institution This Ain’t The Rosedale Library (one of the 10 best bookshops in the world according to The Guardian) featured at Books@Torontoist, with some nice quotes from owner Charlie Huisken:

“creative knowledge [is] accumulative and comes from many sources… Being an autodidact has served me well”

Books in the Age of the iPad — Craig Mod’s article on printed books and digital publishing caused much of a flutter on Twitter yesterday. I’m not sure that I entirely agree with his thesis — which seems to imply that some kinds of content can be completely divorced from their media — but his website is beautifully designed, and more importantly he makes some interesting points. I especially like his conclusion:

I propose the following to be considered whenever we think of printing a book:

  • The Books We Make embrace their physicality — working in concert with the content to illuminate the narrative.
  • The Books We Make are confident in form and usage of material.
  • The Books We Make exploit the advantages of print.
  • The Books We Make are built to last

In that vein, more on David Pearson‘s beautiful book cover designs for Cormac McCarthy at We Made This. I love that he used rubber stamps…

And finally… Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not A Gadget, talks about the failure of Web2.0 with Aleks Krotoski of The Guardian:

Similar Posts:


  1. Interesting video. I’m not yet sure what my response to it is, aside from leaning more toward agreeing than disagreeing. Some of it reminded me of Heidegger’s various commentaries and critiques of technology, but also brought to mind a number of questions regarding ontology and existentialism. Maybe I should come back to this later…

  2. I love those Pearson cover as much as the next designer. i gotta say though. If I ever provided somethign like this to a client, and I have, they would come back to me and say. “it’s very difficult to read”—can we make it bolder, one typeface etc etc etc.

    I guess my point in bringing this up as a designer is that I think we often find our selves very fascinated by what designers like Pearson are doing only because it reflects what a bunch of us will never be able to do, or get away with. Sure, it’s beautiful and rich on many levels, but it does not reflect actual trends in publishing and what most publishers are looking for from their designers. Unfortunate but true.

    As for the Jaron Lanier, vid, I gather that creativity and individuality is at times blurred and affected by the digital revolution/opensource. Things are barely created before they become irrelivent. We jump from content to content without much grounding. This cannot but lead to some sort of downfall of humanity. But i think the downfall will create something stronger and worth the trouble and mess.

Leave a Reply